The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The Steelers being on Hard Knocks would be a good thing.
Explanation: While it will still be a bit before there are any details as to which team will be chosen to be featured on the NFL’s HBO series Hard Knocks, which follows one team through the training camp process, the Steelers figure to be one of the prime candidates for 2020, as they both are not exempt from candidacy and would have a great story to tell. Generally, there hasn’t been much of any ill effect on teams for appearing on the show.
While it may be a minor annoyance and inconvenience, there is no reason to believe that the Steelers being forced to participate in Hard Knocks next season—and there is probably a very good chance that they will be—would have any adverse effect on their ability to win football games.
The only other matter to decide is whether or not it would be entertaining. And you would have to be out of your mind to think that it wouldn’t be. Like him or not, Mike Tomlin is certainly one of the most entertaining head coaches in all of sports, and his clichés alone could fuel a couple of good episodes.
This will be Ben Roethlisberger’s redemption season. Really, the redemption season for the offense as a whole. For James Conner. For JuJu Smith-Schuster. And we can follow the emerging story of a potentially great defense. There’s no reason to sign up for this.
While it may not necessarily have a strong correlation to losing games or anything like that, there can certainly be negative effects for teams appearing on Hard Knocks. For one, it’s much more difficult to keep things confidential, which is a priority for Tomlin.
We already know that the league doesn’t always particularly care what its teams want. The New York Jets, for example, were upset when they broadcasted Sam Darnold saying that he was ‘seeing ghosts’ on the sideline. Frankly, you never know what kind of storyline could emerge from being the focus of a reality tv show.
But it would give us a lot to write about.